Chinese Man Arrested While Taking Photos Of Restricted U.S. Navy Base

Chinese Man Arrested While Taking Photos Of Restricted U.S. Navy Base
U.S. Air Force airman marshals an F-16C Fighting Falcon at Key West Naval Air Station (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Andrew J. Moseley)

Authorities arrested a Chinese man for taking pictures of a restricted area at a US Navy installation in Key West, Florida.

Witnesses spotted Lyuyou Liao, 27, walking around a perimeter fence of Naval Air Station Key West and entering the military facility from the rocks along the water, according to a federal complaint.

The witnesses warned Liao that he was trespassing in a restricted area, known as the Truman Annex, the Miami Herald reported.

When military police saw Liao snapping photos with his cellphone camera, they took the phone and called a federal agent, the complaint said. Liao was arrested and charged with entering Navy property for the purpose of photographing defense installations.

Liao told a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent in broken English that he was trying to take photographs of the sunrise, according to the complaint affidavit. But the agent reported finding photographs of the Truman Annex on the camera.

Court records didn’t list an attorney for Liao.

In addition to a federal charge of Entering Military, Naval or Coast Guard Property for the Purpose of Taking Photographs of Defense Installations, Liao is also facing state-level charges of criminal trespass.

Noel Clay, a State Department spokesman, declined to comment. The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Liao’s arrest comes a little more than a year after another Chinese national was charged with taking photos at the Naval Air Station in Key West.

In September 2018, Key West police caught Zhao Qianli, 20, at the base. He told federal authorities that he was a music student and that he lost his way on the tourist trail, but investigators found photos on Qianli’s cellphone and digital camera of government buildings and a Defense Department antenna, according to court records.

Qianli was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty in February to one count of photographing defense installations.

This past March, a Chinese woman, Yujing Zhang, 33, was arrested at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

She was charged with trespassing in a restricted area and lying to a federal agent. She was convicted in September and sentenced in November to eight months in prison.

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